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Chef Jowett Yu to Open Funky Chinese Canteen, Ho Lee Fook, this April

March 24, 2014 Food & Beverage No Comments Email Email

Ho lee what?! Jowett Yu of Sydney’s uber-cool restaurants Mr. Wong and Ms. G’s, is coming to Hong Kong, opening his first Asian venture in Soho this April. 

The restaurant, named Ho Lee Fook, meaning “good fortune for your mouth,” will feature Yu’s reinterpretation of classic Chinese flavours served in a funky, modern setting. Some of his favourites to debut in Hong Kong include Yunnan-style steak tartare with hot and sour sauce and mint and Fried Brussels sprouts with cauliflower and bacon chili jamIn true Hong Kong tradition, the menu will also include many fresh seafood options sourced locally such as Raw Hokkaido scallop with snow peas, pickled enoki and fish fragrant dressing, Steamed cobia with pickled jalapeños, pickled mustard, fennel and radish salad, and Clams cooked in pork broth

Chef Jowett Yu brings Sydney’s uber-cool, trendy food scene to Hong Kong, with Ho Lee Fook, a funky Chinese canteen.

Chef Jowett Yu brings Sydney’s uber-cool, trendy food scene to Hong Kong, with Ho Lee Fook, a funky Chinese canteen.

with fennel, and fried bread.

Widely recognized for making his mark on Sydney’s happening food scene, Yu’s signature style of creative Chinese cuisine has evolved out of his unique cultural background as an ethnic Taiwanese who emigrated to North America at a young age, as well as extensive time spent in overseas Chinese communities around the globe. His use of modern techniques and aesthetic sensibilities has been fine-tuned through a stellar culinary career, including mentorship by the revered Tetsuya Wakuda (Tetsuya’s, Sydney).

Yu’s love for food started at a very young age, when, as a boy in Taiwan, he spent long summers with his grandma, a prolific cook, in her countryside kitchen in Yilan province. His most vivid childhood memories are of her picking fresh hen eggs, pickling preserved vegetables, growing rice, making wine… In short, he says, “she knew how to do everything.” It was this limitless ability to transform simple ingredients that has inspired him throughout his career.

After his entire family immigrated to Canada when he was 10, Yu’s first job in the kitchen was washing dishes at a neighborhood burger joint, and very soon, at the age of 15, he found himself promoted to actually cooking the burgers. He continued his studies image002and graduated from university with a history degree, but once he fulfilled this obligation to his more conservative parents, he decided to pursue his true passion at culinary school, the Art Institutes in Vancouver. There, he found that cooking came easily to him, like second nature, and he passed the intensive programme with flying colours.

Fresh out of culinary school, Yu jumped at the opportunity to intern at Tetsuya’s in Sydney, which turned into a full time position that lasted several years. During that time, the fine dining restaurant ranked within the top 5 of San Pellegrino’s World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Yu then went on to Marque Restaurant, a 3-hat restaurant known for its modern and molecular style, where he specialized in pastries and desserts.

Yu later partnered up with fellow young chef Dan Hong, and the pair, inspired by Momofuku’s David Chang, was invited to combine their French training and inevitably Asian influences into a funky Asian concept with a similar ethos. The result was Sydney’s Ms. G’s, which took off immediately and won a prestigious hat from the Sydney Morning Herald’s Good Food Guide in its second year, followed quickly by Mr. Wong, one of the busiest Cantonese restaurants Sydney has seen, receiving two hats within just one year of opening its doors.

Yu has now moved back closer to his roots, and is gearing up to do his own thing a whole new way, with Soho’s Ho Lee Fook. Stay tuned!

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